Practicing the Corporal Works of Mercy

08-24-2016Parish LifeSue Sabol

This past June, St. Magdalen's parish made concrete steps to practice the corporal works of mercy: providing food, housing, and fellowship for those in need in Hunterdon county, through Family Promise.

In 2005 Sr. Pat Vayda, the former head of St. Magdalen's social ministries, asked me to take over Family Promise, a n initiative which provides temporary housing for individuals experiencing financial hardship. Being part of Family Promise has opened my eyes and my heart. I have been blessed with so much; to meet young people who have absolutely nothing just breaks your heart.

Family Promise of Hunterdon County has been providing homeless shelter and many related services for 25 years. A group of local residents recognized this need in 1990. Their mission: to provide temporary housing, food, clothing, car donations, psychological counseling, furniture, and financial assistance in order to help people get a new start— offering a respite and help for those down on their luck while at the same time, offering Church volunteers a chance to help others one-on-one. We at St. Magdalen's have been involved in Family Promise since 2005. First, we were a support church; for the last two years we have been a host church; this involves two weeks in June (this year from June 5th-19th) when these "guests" stay with in our parish's Spiritual Formation Center. We feed and house them here in our church, therefore needing many volunteers. What a response we have had! As you know, our parish is absolutely wonderful; we are learning to 'understand' the culture of poverty.